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Downing clinches Middlesbrough return

Stewart Downing has rejoined hometown club Middlesbrough from West Ham Credit: Tony Marshall/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Middlesbrough have confirmed the signing of winger Stewart Downing from West Ham for an undisclosed fee.

The 30-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Boro, has rejoined his hometown club six years to the day after leaving for Aston Villa in 2009.

The England international, who has 35 caps for his country, has signed a four-year contract and is flying out to Spain on Friday to link up with the rest of the Boro squad in Marbella.

Downing made almost 250 appearances for Middlesbrough before joining Aston Villa for £12 million in 2009. Two years later, he moved to Liverpool for £20 million. He then signed for West Ham in 2013 for £5 million.

West Ham fans spared jail for Sunderland punch-up

Eight West Ham fans have been spared jail over a mass city centre brawl with Sunderland supporters.

A large group of men from opposing sides got involved in a mass brawl outside Revolution bar on Low Row in Sunderland on January 12 last year.

At Newcastle Crown Court 8 West Ham supporters, who all admitted violent disorder, were given suspended jail terms.Judge Jeremy Freedman said: "This was a serious incident of violence.

"I am satisfied it was planned, arrangements had been made in advance".

At an earlier hearing, seven Sunderland fans who were involved in the violence were also handed suspended prison sentences.

Football fans charged over pre-match fighting

Police have charged more than 30 Sunderland and West Ham fans who are alleged to have been involved in a fight before a Premier League game.

Trouble flared outside Revolution Bar in Sunderland at around 2.15pm on January 12, ahead of the Hammers visit to the Stadium of Light.

Northumbria Police said 10 fans associated with West Ham have now been charged with violent disorder.

They are aged between 18 and 28 and come from St Albans, Peterborough, Romford, Hornchurch, Basildon, Harefield, Bury St Edmunds and Chelmsford.

They are due to appear before Sunderland Magistrates' Court later this month.

A total of 24 Sunderland fans have already been charged following a lengthy investigation by police.

All of those charged have strict bail conditions restricting their attendance at football matches.

"This has been an extensive investigation and we received an excellent response from the public when CCTV images of the incident were released.

"There are 24 Sunderland and 10 West Ham supporters charged with offences, bringing the total number of people charged in connection with the incident to 34.

"They are all going through the court process and currently have stringent bail conditions.

"As we've said previously the vast majority of football supporters just want to enjoy the match.

"However, when any kind of violence takes place we will do everything possible to make sure those suspected of being involved are traced and the appropriate action is taken."

– Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Sunderland Area Commander


Big Sam: Performance 'difficult to accept'

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Venue: Stadium of Light

Result: Sunderland 3-0 West Ham

West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce says his team's performance during their 3-0 defeat to Sunderland was "difficult to accept".

The loss came a week after the Hammers almost knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, with the Premier League leaders salvaging a 2-2 draw late on.

Speaking after the match at the Stadium of Light, Allardyce said the comparison of his side's performance over the two games was "staggering". He said: "The level of difference of performance between that game and this is just staggering.

"All last week we were absolutely brilliant in all departments. This week we were poor in all departments. Hence we've got beat comprehensively by a team that deserved to beat us."